WildBlue is another subsidiary acquired by ViaSat, Inc. in 2009. They are also a reseller of Exede Internet, which is an excellent satellite Internet provider in the industry. WildBlue's first satellite went into space in July 2004. Their second satellite was built by Space Systems / Loral and was put in service in 2007. WildBlue had their 3rd satellite put into orbit in August 2009. ViaSat launched one of the most advanced satellites in the world, ViaSat-1 a couple years after it acquired WildBlue in 2011.
- Multiple plans for flexibility
- SpeedBoost and Liberty Pass features
- Faster upload speeds
- Options for equipment fees
Something that sets WildBlue apart from Exede is the transparency of their website. You are able to see the price and features of their different plans depending on your zip code instead of having to consult with an Exede dealer.
WildBlue's pricing will depend on where you live, but you can expect your monthly bill to be between $39.99 - $149.99. WildBlue has several different plans available for customers living in rural areas of the United States and some of them include data caps of 150 GB and even unlimited data for certain activities on the web. Their Essential 10 plan starts out at $39.99 per month and includes download speeds up to 12 Mbps and upload speeds up to 3 Mbps. With this plan, you get 10 GB of priority data which is data that you are able to use any time of the day, as well as unmetered access from 3 am to 8 am with the Early Bird Free Zone.
If you are looking for a plan that will get you more data for the month then you can settle with WildBlue's Liberty 12, Liberty 18, or Liberty 30 plans. The only differences you will notice between these plans is the price and data cap for the month as well as a couple of additional features. Prices will vary depending on where you live but what you can expect with these plans is the SpeedBoost feature and the Liberty Pass.
SpeedBoost will cost $10 -$20 more per month if you decide to purchase. It allows you to get download speeds up to 25 Mbps while you still have priority data available. 25 Mbps download speed is some of the fastest speeds we have seen in the satellite internet industry so that's kind of a big deal. The Liberty Pass feature helps you by giving you download speeds of 1 - 5 Mbps even if you've gone over your monthly data limit. Keep in mind that the Liberty Pass will also increase your monthly bill.
WildBlue offers some of the fastest upload speeds we have seen in the industry which is up to 3 Mbps. If you know that you're going to be uploading a lot of pictures, videos, or data online then you will want to consider WildBlue because if their upload speed. Take into account that download and upload speeds are not guaranteed but at least, they are doing their party to offer you the fastest upload speed in this industry.
We like that WildBlue gives it customer options on how they want to pay for their equipment. Each plan requires a 24-month commitment as well as an equipment fee. With WildBlue, you can either pay $9.99 per month for an equipment lease or prepay $199 for 24 months. While both options will cost you money, at least, you are given more than one option. Each plan includes a 3-year price lock guarantee. Please keep in mind that the price lock guarantee goes into effect with the monthly price BEFORE any promotions or discounts.
Another thing that we liked about WildBlue was the transparency on their site. They have a well put together FAQ section as well as information regarding the equipment they use and install on your home.
- Some plans are only available to new customers
- Lower data allowance
- Slower download speeds
- Fees, fees, and oh yeah, more fees
- Transparency with additional data
There are certain plans that WildBlue offers that are only available to certain customers depending on where they live. For example, if you wanted to get their Freedom plan which features 150 GB of priority data, you would have to live in that specific location. WildBlue claims to only offer these kinds of plans to customers that don't have many other WildBlue customers so unfortunately, we don't know what areas offer these kinds of packages.
If you don't have access to the Freedom plan or Unlimited email and webpages plan then you're looking at a max data cap of only 30 GB which is half of what competing companies offer. If you're not willing to pay for WildBlue's SpeedBoost feature then you're looking at download speeds up to 12 Mbps whereas competing companies offer a download speed up to 15 Mbps. If you're going to be downloading many items or streaming movies or TV shows then you may want to consider going with a satellite internet provider that offers a faster download speed without having to pay $10 more than your monthly bill.
WildBlue claims to have free "Standard Installation" but they require a "One-time Activation Setup Fee" of $149.99 which seems to cancel out the free "Standard Installation". In order to receive the free standard installation, WildBlue instructs potential customers to ask the technician whether or not it will be a standard installation. If it isn't a standard installation, you could look at additional fees. Also, if you decide to cancel your installation, you will be charged $50 for a restocking fee. Don't forget that there is an early termination fee if you terminate your contract early. You can expect to pay $15.00 times however many months you had left in your contract. It's unfortunate to know that you could have additional fees sneak up on you from anywhere.
We think it would have been beneficial if WildBlue included pricing on what additional data costs. It would be unfortunate to get hit with prices you're not expecting for additional data.
The Bottom Line
Overall, WildBlue is not a bad choice when purchasing satellite internet for your home. We like the Liberty Pass which still allows you to browse the internet even if you've used up all your data. We also like the SpeedBoost which can let you use your priority data at a download speed of 25 Mbps. They have a higher upload speed than the rest of the industry which is also nice and if you're lucky enough based on where you live, you could have access to their unlimited, or Freedom plans which feature enormous amounts of data per month.
Beware of all the fees. There is a one-time activation fee, fees if you cancel before your system is installed and fees if you cancel your contract early. We don't want you to get hit with a bunch of payments that you weren't expecting so be sure to read the fine print and ask lots of questions before committing to this service.